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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on May 23, 2013


Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei held a press conference on May 23, 2013.

Hong Lei started the press conference with the following announcement:

As agreed by foreign ministries of China and the ROK, Vice Chinese Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui will co-chair the sixth China-ROK High-Level Strategic Dialogue between Foreign Ministries with Kim Kyou-hyun, the first Vice Foreign Minister of the ROK in Beijing on June 3. The two sides will exchange views on bilateral relations as well as major international and regional issues of common interest.

Q: ROK media reported that ROK President Park Geun-hye would visit China in late June. Please confirm.

A: At the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, ROK President Park Geun-hye will pay a state visit to China in late June. The two sides are in close communication on the specific arrangement of the visit. We will release relevant information in due course.

Since the inauguration of President Park Geun-hye, there have been frequent interactions between Chinese and ROK leaders through correspondence, special envoys and phone calls. China-ROK relations are in good shape. We believe that President Park Geun-hye's visit will lift China-ROK relations to a new and higher level.

Q: It is reported that China and Pakistan inked a series of agreements on economic cooperation during Premier Li Keqiang's visit there. Please give us more details. Will the China-Pakistan economic corridor pass through India-administered Kashmir?

A: Premier Li Keqiang had an in-depth exchange of views with Pakistani leaders on further enhancing China-Pakistan all-weather strategic partnership during his visit there. The Chinese side underscored that China would always give priority to China-Pakistan relations in its diplomacy and work with the Pakistani side to uphold traditional friendship, step up comprehensive cooperation and realize common development.

Premier Li Keqiang said that the two countries should reinforce strategic and long-term planning, open up cooperation in connectivity, maritime and other new sectors and start mapping out a long-term blueprint for the China-Pakistan economic corridor and steadily push forward its construction. The economic corridor is to build up connectivity between China and Pakistan and promote their common development.

China's position on the Kashmir issue is consistent and clear. We hope that India and Pakistan could solve relevant issue through dialogue and consultation.

Q: China is opposed to the interference by external forces in Syria's internal affairs. What is China's position on external forces' involvement in solving the Syrian issue?

A: China has a long-standing and clear position on the Syrian issue. China believes that political settlement is the only realistic way out for the Syrian issue. Under the current circumstances, especially when there are positive developments of the political settlement of the Syrian issue, the international community should actively encourage relevant parties of Syria to immediately cease fire and stop violence in accordance with the communiqué of the Geneva foreign ministers' meeting and launch political transition as soon as possible. China stands ready to work hard for a just, peaceful and proper settlement of the Syrian issue together with the international community. In a nutshell, the international community should play a constructive role in the political settlement of the Syrian issue.

Q: Please brief us on Premier Li Keqiang's meeting with Nawaz Sharif, leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-N party.

A: As far as I know, Premier Li Keqiang met and had a friendly conversation with Nawaz Sharif, leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-N party yesterday at the welcoming banquet held by President Asif Ali Zardari. With regard to his meeting with Mr. Sharif today, we will release relevant information in due course.

Q: A UN official said on May 22 that China would contribute over 500 peacekeepers to the UN peacekeeping force in Mali. Please confirm and brief us on that.

A: China follows closely the situation in Mali, supports the efforts made by the Malian government, the UN and other international and regional organizations for Mali's sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as regional peace, and supports the full implementation of Resolutions 2085 and 2100 of the UN Security Council. Although the political and security situation in Mali has improved, there are still many challenges to tackle before the fundamental settlement of the Malian issue. We hope that the international community will continue to help Mali realize national reconciliation, stability and tranquility at an early date. China will keep playing a positive role to that end.

Q: What are the achievements of Premier Li Keqiang's visits to India and Pakistan?

A: There are several achievements of Premier Li Keqiang's visit to India.

First, this visit allows us to view China-India relations from a fresh strategic angle in a more objective way. Premier Li Keqiang pointed out that both China and India are ancient civilizations, major developing countries and big emerging markets and the significance and influence of China-India cooperation has gone far beyond bilateral scope, delivering benefits to not only the two peoples, but also Asia and beyond. It is difficult to find another two countries in the world that have so much in common as China and India do. The two countries are indeed natural strategic partners.

Second, China and India have broadened strategic consensus. Both sides agreed to make consensus the dominant factor of bilateral relations. It is underlined in the joint statement that China and India are partners, rather than rivals, and regard each other's development as opportunities, rather than challenges.

Third, the visit has further enhanced China-India strategic mutual trust. Instead of shunning problems and differences, China places all the problems of mutual concern, including those critical ones on the table for candid discussions. We make clear our strategic intention on such issues as boundary, trans-border rivers and trade imbalance that India is concerned about. We ask India to join China as a strategic and cooperative partner in seeking common interests, properly managing differences and handling existing or emerging problems in a cooperative attitude.

We believe that the visit has sowed a seed of friendship, cooperation and mutual trust between the two peoples, which will certainly grow and bear fruits.

Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Pakistan is still underway. We believe that this visit is of great significance to further enhancing China-Pakistan all-weather strategic partnership in the new era. China always gives priority to China-Pakistan relations in its diplomacy and stands ready to uphold traditional friendship, promote comprehensive cooperation and realize common development together with the Pakistani side.

Premier Li Keqiang stressed that the two countries should first strengthen strategic communication and coordination, maintain high-level contact to steer bilateral relations forward. Second, reinforce strategic and long-term planning, open up cooperation in connectivity, maritime and other new sectors and start mapping out a long-term plan for the China-Pakistan economic corridor project and steadily push forward its construction. Third, further raise the quality of bilateral trade and realize a dynamic balance while increasing two-way trade. China encourages Chinese enterprises to participate in Pakistan's infrastructure construction. Fourth, boost people-to-people and culture exchanges and build up popular support for China-Pakistan friendship. Fifth, promote cooperation in regional and global affairs and safeguard the common interests of developing countries.

Premier Li Keqiang pointed out that China respects the development path Pakistan has chosen based on its own realities, would continue to support Pakistan in defending its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity and stands ready to provide assistance to Pakistan in economic development to the best of its ability.

President Zardari and other Pakistani leaders said that China is a true friend and reliable partner of Pakistan. Pakistan expresses its sincere thanks to China for its long-term support and selfless assistance and would grasp the opportunities brought about by China's rapid development to deepen bilateral cooperation in various fields, improve the well-being of the two peoples and promote regional and global peace, stability and development together with China.

This visit fully demonstrates that no matter how the situation changes, the bond between China and Pakistan is unbreakable. China-Pakistan friendship, which has transcended the changes of the times, is glowing with vigor and vitality.

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